Sonam Kapoor bemoans lack of reading habits
The Zoya Factor actress Sonam Kapoor and award winning author of the book by the same title Anuja Chauhan in conversation about books at the Sharjah International Book Fair
Not all of us can connect to the written word on a level that feels transcendent. There are many who believe in the visual form and those individuals need not miss out being entertained by a good idea or story, said Anuja Chauhan, award-winning author who penned The Zoya Factor, during the Sharjah International Book Fair 2019 (SIBF).
The lead actress of the movie adaption of the novel, Sonam Kapoor, also attended the fun session titled 'From Bat, to Book, to Bollywood,' held as part of the Sharjah World Book Capital's #ReadTheMovie initiative.
"If you read a lot I think writing comes as the natural next step," said Anuja, about making the transition from reading to writing adventures. "Writing was the next logical step after walking away from a 17-year career in advertising. In advertising, you're not really telling your story. You're selling a product. I wanted to write bigger, longer and my own stuff. So, the books came out of creative frustration and it was so liberating to just write and keep writing," she elaborated.
Anuja was quick to address the issue of writer's block. "I think the best thing to do when you have a writer's block is not to be in denial. Don't mechanically keep writing just because you want to hammer through it. There's nothing wrong with shutting off for a while and doing something else. Your inspiration will return to you. Everyone needs to lie fallow for a while. I think it's very important to take that time out and do other things and not force it at all," she urged.
Meanwhile, Sonam, who grew up reading the likes of Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, attributed her love of reading to her mother who used to read to her before bed. But, she feels reading is a thing of the past. Living in such a digital age can feel challenging to any old soul book lover who likes to sit down with a physical book for an escape. "I feel reading has gone out of style and it needs to never go out of style. There are so many clickbait articles and there's so much content on social media. People don't have the patience to read anymore and that makes me very sad," she said.
"Any sort of gravitas or depth that I have is only because of the reading that I did in my formative years and the reading that I continue to do. I started reading before consuming visual content. Films and TV were never as inviting because nothing could beat my imagination."
Sonam had insightful thoughts to give parents of today. "I think the first thing you need to do for your child is making them read as opposed to make them watch something, even though that's easier when they're having a tantrum," she said.